In my latest Stephen King kick I read his first and second novels: Carrie and ‘Salem’s Lot. There is A LOT to be said for King’s early work. I think this is general knowledge/understanding, but I just want to reiterate it here. The Shining is probably still my favorite King, but only because ‘Salem’s Lot was legitimately too terrifying for me to probably ever read again.
Sometimes I get bogged down when I read a Stephen King book, but I tore through Carrie in a day and a half. I appreciated the compactness of Carrie, mainly because I feel like King books are typically too detail-heavy for my taste. The story moved at a brisk pace with a good amount of chills. Even though I had seen the movie and had a general idea of what was going to happen, the book was still engaging. I think the trickiest part about this book was that I was torn between feeling bad for Carrie and the horror of what she was doing on prom night. Honestly, I think what I loved most about this was knowing that this was King’s first published book. Reading it and knowing what its publication was going to lead to was really cool.
‘Salem’s Lot is scary for real. I thought that Pet Sematary was the worst (i.e.: scariest) Stephen King book out there, but ohmygod I finished ‘Salem’s Lot last night and you better believe that I was up listening for bumps in the night. Usually when I read a Stephen King book I’m like okay that was fun but whatever, I’m good. NOT THIS TIME. ‘Salem’s Lot is about a vampire who destroys a town from the inside out. From the outside looking in, Jerusalem’s Lot seems to be a quaint town, full of wholesome inhabitants and happy families. But King lets the reader in to the hidden darkness that we don’t always see about our friends, families, and neighbors. Out of all of the Stephen King books that I’ve read, I felt that this was definitely one of his stronger pieces of writing stylistically. It’s better developed than Carrie, and a lot more gripping. ‘Salem’s Lot has a sinister, slow build of dread. Finishing the book left me feeling extremely uneasy. You’ll never look at your bedroom window the same way again.